Sunday, December 23, 2007

People Look East: a song by Eleanor Farjeon

A Song of the Week Special Edition

While you may know Eleanor Farjeon by way of her poem, "Morning Has Broken" (sung both as a church hymn and as a popular song by Cat Stevens), most children's book afficionados know Farjeon as a prolific children's book writer of an older era. The New York Review of Books recently reprinted Farjeon's Hans Christian Andersen award-winner, The Little Bookroom. However, most of Farjeon's books languish out-of-print. It's understandable in some ways: her stories definitely have a bent toward favoring alabaster-skinned English maidens and the language can veer toward the precious at times. Still, Farjeon at her best produced stories that spoke vividly of human longing, even when those characters happened to be a goldfish or a skinny pig. Besides the aforementioned Little Bookroom, from which I told "The Seventh Princess" for The New York Public Library's annual storytelling symposium, I'm a fan of Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard, which is a frame-tale (i.e. stories within one overarching story) and The Silver Curlew, which is based upon the Tom Tit Tot/Rumplestilkskin fairy tales.

Yesterday, my mother mentioned a Christmas song she liked called "People, Look East," written by Eleanor Farjeon. I searched a bit on the internet for guitar chords to add to my small collection of Christmas songs I like to play. When I didn't find them, I decided to transcribe the chords myself. Transcribing chords usually involves me trying to listen to the song with my earphones on while attempting not to clunk my guitar against the desk. Fortunately, the chords ended up being straight-forward. I hope that those who are looking for the chords find them easily. (As an example of how Google searching isn't as exhaustive as some think, I've found it very hard to locate the chords for the song "Radio Operator" by Rosanne Cash during a simple search-- and yet, here they are, right on my blog.)
Here are the words plus the chords:

Click on the image in order to enlarge it for printing.

You may find the MIDI here.


tanita✿davis said...

It is WAAAAY too much fun to sing this song during a processional. We did this one last year and ended up almost galloping. We were quite breathless and trying not to laugh by the time we got to the front of the church.


Jules at 7-Imp said...

Neat. Never heard that one.

Happy holidays! Sorry that I was a LOUSY EXERCISE ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER this year! You rocked it, and I didn't.

Happy '08!

Lone Star Ma said...

We, myself and the other Catholic schoolchildren, used to sing that at Mass when I was a bairn. it is lovely.

Lady K said...

Merry Christmas to you and yours, Alkelda!

Robin Brande said...

Merry Christmas, Alkelda! Thanks for being gleeful all year long!

BlueMamma said...

I always sing this song on the last Sunday of Advent, and I love to take it at a gallop - which is why I usually save it for the last song of the Mass.

Merry Christmas to the three of you!

Saints and Spinners said...

Merry Christmas to all of you! As I play this song, I notice that I have to take a quick breath of air after the fourth line. It's a lot of fun, though, and I'm looking forward to playing it tomorrow at our wee gathering.

BlueMamma said...

I actually recognized Eleanor Farjeon immediately as the source of People Look East - I wasn't aware that she'd ever written anything else!